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Modern Arabic Fiction

Modern Arabic Fiction: An Anthology

EDITED BY Salma Khadra Jayyusi
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 1064
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    Modern Arabic Fiction
    Book Description:

    Beginning with the late-nineteenth-century cultural resurgence and continuing through the present day, short stories and novels have given voice to the personal and historical experiences of modern Arabs. This anthology offers a rich and diverse selection of works from more than one hundred and forty prominent Arab writers of fiction. The collection reflects Arab writers' formal inventiveness as well as their intense exploration of various dimensions of modern Arab life, including the impact of modernity, the rise of the oil economy, political authoritarianism, corruption, religion, poverty, and the Palestinian experience in modern times.

    Salma Khadra Jayyusi, a renowned scholar of Arabic literature, has included short stories and excerpts from novels from authors in every Arab country. Modern Arabic Fiction contains writings stretching from the pioneering work of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors to the novels of Naguib Mahfouz and the stories of contemporary Arab writers. In addition to familiar names such as Mahfouz, the anthology presents excerpts from writers well known in the Arab world but just beginning to find an audience in the West, including early twentieth century Christian Lebanese writer Jurji Zaydan, whose historical epics were eye-openers for generations of Arab readers to the achievements of medieval Islamic civilization; Yusuf Idris's complex and brilliant portrait of Egypt's poor; 'Abd al-Rahman Muneef's searing exploration of the ecological and social impact of oil production; Palestinian writer Jabra Ibrahim Jabra's sophisticated description of the dilemma's of modern Arab intellectuals; and Jamal al-Ghitani's impressive employment of mythical time and the continuity of the past in the present.

    Jayyusi provides biographical information on the writers as well as a substantial and illuminating introduction to the development of modern Arabic fictional genres that considers the central thematic and aesthetic concerns of Arab short story writers and novelists.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50722-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-xvi)
  3. Acknowledgments (pp. xvii-xxii)
    Salma Khadra Jayyusi
  4. Introduction (pp. 1-70)

    Modern criticism of fiction is becoming more and more sophisticated and complex. As critics try to interpret artistic experience in a greater variety of ways, criticism is becoming an interdisciplinary art par excellence. Along with the emergence and development of the novel as a literary form, its artistic and semantic attributes now engage several disciplines of the humanities. The novel has proved to have many more ramifications than the more ancient art form of poetry.

    There is a universal common denominator that makes the stuff of fiction, whether novel, romance, short story, or any of the other creative narrative forms...

  5. 1 The Pioneers (pp. 71-124)

    A Lebanese literary figure of great stature, Marun ‘Abboud was predominantly a literary critic, an iconoclast of the finest order, with an honest mind and a personality of great integrity, qualities rare at any time and in any place. His work has been a driving force behind the modernization and development of modern Arabic poetry, as he helped demolish many old concepts relating to poetry and open up new avenues for poets and critics to follow. However, he was more than a critic, he was a litterateur open to many literary disciplines. His short stories are vivid depictions of life...

  6. 2 Short Stories (pp. 125-800)

    A short-story writer from the United Arab Emirates, Amina Abdallah’s early experimenting with fiction, represented here by one of its cogent examples, shows a genuine artistic sensibility and a good control of literary language. Her work has not yet been collected in book form.

    As Amina was in one of her usual moments of contemplation, she discovered with irritation that her only wealth was her slim figure, wide expressive eyes, and pursed lips, nothing else. It was these attributes that her very rich husband, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Musa had liked, and it was for this that he brought her one day...

  7. 3 Selections from Novels (pp. 801-1056)

    Egyptian novelist, short-story writer, and scholar Radwa ‘Ashour was born in Cairo. She obtained a B.A. in English literature and an M.A. in comparative literature at the University of Cairo and, in 1975, a Ph.D. in African-American studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is now professor of English literature and chair of the department of English at Cairo’s ‘Ain Shams University. She is also an active member of the Egyptian Higher Council for Culture, the Arab Organization of Human Rights, and other distinguished cultural organizations. Her works of literary criticism include Gibran and Blake: A Comparative Study...